By Jessica Mathews /

A local lawmaker has testified about bills that would make fraudulently filling out absentee voter applications a felony.

Republican State Representative Ann Bollin of Brighton Township testified Wednesday in support of her plan to help deter voter fraud in Michigan by making it a felony to knowingly fill out an absentee ballot application with another person’s information. In a release Wednesday, Bollin said the combination of the passage of Proposal 3 providing for no-reason absentee voting in Michigan and the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic increase in the number of voters submitting requests or applications to obtain an AV ballot. Earlier this year, the Secretary of State conducted a mass mailing of absent voter ballot applications. Bollin said many of the applications were delivered to households where the addressee no longer lived – noting some had moved away and others were deceased. Additionally, Bollin says local clerks, political and advocacy groups sent AV applications, which created confusion and possible opportunity for fraudulent activities.

Bollin served as the Brighton Township clerk before being elected to the state House. She’s co-sponsoring a plan that would make it a felony to knowingly submit an absent voter application using another person’s name or personal identification information. Currently that is a misdemeanor. It would also be a felony to complete applications with the intent to receive multiple ballots, punishable by up to five years in prison.

Bollin said at a time when everyone is, “inundated with noise about our elections, especially absentee or mail in voting, these bills will serve as a deterrent for potential shenanigans in our election process and enhance voter confidence.” As a former clerk, Bollin said she believes protecting the integrity of the ballot, adding that the process is of utmost importance.